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Simulations of stratified turbulence surrounding Meddy structures

Friday 12 December 2008, 10:00-10:30

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute


Recently available geosismic data in the North-East Atlantic ocean have revealed ubiquituous pancake-like layers of density anomalies of 30-60 meters thickness, surrounding Meddy structures within the Mediterranean Water outflow. The depths of pancake-like density layering unambiguously coincide with potential energy spectra in $k_h^{-5/3}$,-- where $k_h$ is the horizontal wavenumber--, for horizontal spatial scales less than 1km, reminiscent of non-rotating stratified turbulence results. Using ultra-high 3D resolution simulations of a Meddy structure on the Earth Simulator, with a horizontal grid size down to 100m and a vertical grid size of 3m, we have been able to reproduce the pancake-like layering surrounding the eddy. Furthermore, potential and kinetic energy with $k_h^{-5/3}$ inertial ranges are simulated. A rationale is proposed for the formation mechanism of the layering and we discuss the influence of rotation on stratifed turbulence properties.

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